Volunteering – Something for everyone

The theme for this year’s National Volunteering Week from May 20-26 is “something for everyone.”

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to volunteers who are as diverse as the older people they spend time with. What unites them is their kindness and desire to help others.

People who volunteer with Uniting AgeWell make such a difference and are so appreciated.

Never has there been a greater need for volunteers than now, as we seek to rectify the widespread impact of social isolation, exacerbated by the pandemic.

One of the areas in need of people is face-to-face volunteering in aged care. While telephone and video-link volunteering continued during the COVID-19 pandemic, it became increasingly clear there’s no substitute for a hug or going out to a café to connect with the community.

With those bleak days behind us, now is a great time to join Uniting AgeWell’s 500-plus group of volunteers who are determined to connect and bring a sense of community back into people’s lives.

The Australian Government’s Department of Health ‘Healthdirect’ says volunteering provides many benefits including creating a sense of achievement and purpose.

It enables you to share your talents, learn new skills and creates a better work-life balance. Socially, it helps combat stress, loneliness and depression – with the added benefit of meeting new people which can help you feel more connected and valued.

Uniting AgeWell’s volunteers know first-hand that volunteering enriches the lives of older people, and also their own. And this is not text book knowledge. It’s lived experience.

Volunteering can also help fill the lonely void sometimes felt in retirement. When a partner passes away, or when someone finds themselves living apart from their loved one who has moved into residential care, the benefits are endless. Sometimes it can even open up new career paths!

Each volunteer is unique and all have wide and varied interests. In turn, the vast range of volunteering opportunities available means there is “something for everyone”.

Some choose to take part in the many research projects that Uniting AgeWell undertakes to improve the quality of life and services for older people. Others help out in AgeWell Centres while many volunteer at residential aged care facilities either visiting individual residents, helping the lifestyle team with activities and outings or working in the gardens.

Many work in Social Connections which includes:

  • One-on-one visiting: spending time with people at home or out in the community taking them to shops or cafes.
  • Chat-A-Ring: chatting one-on-one with people on weekly or fortnightly calls.
  • Telelink: group chats with up to 6 – 8 people who dial in. Topics can include armchair travel, quizzes or just chatting! This is particularly beneficial for people with social anxiety or those who are vision impaired.
  • Outings – taking people out for meals or to the movies, or other outings established around people’s needs and preferences.

There are even opportunities to volunteer your dog as a therapy pup bringing joy to people in residential aged care.

If you have a big heart and a little bit of spare time on your hands, you may like to consider enriching the lives of others – and your own – by becoming a volunteer. Uniting AgeWell would love to hear from you! Call 13 93 75 or visit our volunteering page.

Visit our volunteering page